We’re heading into a season of book celebrations. There are so many book celebration days from now until April that will give you a good reason to put a good book in your hand. I wasn’t even aware of many of these days until I became an author. Any excuse to talk about my book, right? Yes, but no!
I love to read and I enjoyed sharing books with my students when I was in the classroom. It was a great time to read books that I love to share every year and new books to explore with them. There is a book for every topic (well almost) so why not dive into them all?
National Storytelling Week- The last week of January
If you’ve read my little bio blurb on the back of my book, you would know that my husband and I used to tell stories to our girls. When we were new parents and trying to figure out how to get the girls to settle down on car rides, or go to sleep at night (with the lights off) we would make up stories.
I remember my husband telling the girls a story about a mermaid. It was my turn to drive them to preschool and they demanded that I tell this story about a mermaid. Of course I had to make something up because I had no I idea what his story was about. When we arrived at school, I thought, “shoot, this would make a good book. I need to write this stuff down.” Eventually, I did come up with a story to write down!
My point is, storytelling can be anything. A real story, a made-up one, or a story that everyone makes up together. Whatever it is, the kids love it and it gets their brains thinking and their imaginations flowing which is something kids seem to give up way too early these days. National story week is a week to celebrate sharing stories whether they’re real or imaginary.
While my younger girls still love the made-up stories, my older ones are waiting to hear stories from my teenage years since that’s where they’re at. And that leads us into…
World Read Aloud Day on February 1st
I can’t help but tell you how beneficial reading books aloud to kids is. Kids get soooo much out of it. I’ve made a list of a few of the reasons why reading aloud to your children is a good idea to make a regular thing. And, newsflash! Reading doesn’t have to be done at night. I know for me, reading at bedtime makes me want to close my eyes and go to sleep also, so sometimes I choose all different times of the day to read books with my little one.
One of my girls is coming out of the stage of having mommy and daddy read to her, sure is quiet and looking on when her little sister gets a story read to her. When the oldest girls were coming out of the read aloud stage, we read a novel out loud together. I need to bring that back for the 10 year old. She’d love the one on one time together.
Here’s the list of reasons that came to mind as to why you should read aloud to your kids. I know there are a ton more.
- You’re a good model
Kids need to see what good readers do. They can see and hear how we self-correct. Without even realizing it we are showing kids how we process what we read. We model self-correcting strategies. For example, if you read a word wrong and you’ve realized it doesn’t make sense you try again. It takes a long time for children to start to automatically do this.
- They learn how to follow along with the plot and story characters.
- It can be a great time for discussions or questions.
- The one-on-one time you get with your child is always a bonus.
- They can learn new vocabulary.
- They’ll practice and learn language, grammar, and sentence structure.
February is Black History Month
In the US, February is Black History Month. It’s a good time to read about important people in black history. You can read books by African-American authors or books with black characters. It’s a good month to remind ourselves to read books with characters that may not look like ourselves. It helps kids accept others for their differences. As an African-American author and a teacher, I see the importance of this and the importance of representation. It’s important kids read books with characters that are different from themselves and it is super important for them to read and have books that do!
As a child, I remember the feeling of not having books with characters that looked like me. This might not seem like such a big deal to some, but because books are a huge part of children’s learning, what do you think this is subconsciously teaches them? It definitely isn’t teaching them to love themselves, their differences, or give them enough hope in their lives. Luckily, things are changing and I’m enjoying all of the books I see on the market today. All of the new books released out into the world is uplifting. It produces confidence and so much more when people see books that look like themselves and typically books that shine the characters in a positive light. The hope and potential that it can instill in a young person are priceless!
Black Children’s Book Week- The last week of February
We celebrate Black Children’s Book Week the last week in February. There are several book events taking place around the world and online. It’s a fun week of reading that coincides with Black History Month and celebrates black children’s book authors and books with a black protagonist. Go to the website to find in-person and online events to join in on.
Take your child to the library day on February 4th
Read a book to your child day on February 14th
These are good reminders to use the resources we have at our fingertips and get books into our hands and in front of our children. Even in my tiny little village, there’s a library and we don’t use it enough. We often forget about the library and I know I’m quick to press the “buy” button to buy a book online when I could be saving some money and heading to the library for FREE. I know they don’t always have the newest books available, but maybe it’s a chance to dig into some good books that have been around for a while. However, if we have a little bit of patience they can usually get it eventually.
You can also find Little Free Libraries placed around communities all across the US. You can take a book and/or add a book for others to read. They are often placed in front of people’s homes or small businesses. There’s even a website to help you find the one closest to you. It’s fun to see how they’re decorated. I found one in my hometown with a Harry Potter theme. I definitely had to go check it out. You can see me in front of it here, sharing one of my own books.
I know life gets busy and we forget to sit down and read to our kids or read to ourselves. These days give us the opportunity to celebrate books. It’s a good season to get back into the routine of reading.
March is National Reading Month
Book celebrations continue into March with National Reading Month in the US and kick off with Read Across America also known as Dr. Seuss Day on March 2nd. This is always an enjoyable day in school with each school making it special in its own way. The schools I worked in celebrated with surprise visits by characters from Dr. Seuss’s book Cat in the Hat. We’ve also had people from the community come and read. I think we’ve even had football players from the NFL read to students (they didn’t come to my room though). Students bring stuffed animals and pillows as a treat while participating in the “drop everything and read” time of day.
International Read to Me Day on March 19th
World Storytelling Day on March 20th
These are similar to some of the other days mentioned, but that gives us more days to celebrate books and read!
World Book Day on April 23rd
Unbeknownst to me, World Book Day is the day that famous authors William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died. Because of this, nearly 20 years ago, it was decided that this should be a day to celebrate books. Although it is called World Book Day, this particular day is mainly celebrated in the US. Other countries celebrate this day at other times of the year. I say, choose the time of year that works for you, OR you can always celebrate books every day!
I hope this blog post gives you renewed excitement to pick up a book and read it to your children. If you’re already doing that then maybe it will make you think about trying out new books that you hadn’t thought about. Maybe you’ll visit the library, or find a nearby book event to attend. I can say that I’m going to use these days to make it a point to read more to my kids. I already have a list of books I want us to find so we can read them together.
You have my permission to go out into the world and stock up on books. You don’t need my permission, but I dare you to go to a nearby bookstore and see if you come out empty handed. I know I wouldn’t! No matter where you are in the world, go ahead and enjoy this season of reading!